Sayers Solutions receives a Leeds Hug

Last week I had some long overdue indulgence for Sayers Solutions and attended the Leeds Hug. Being as busy as I am helping my clients to market their businesses, consulting and managing projects, it’s easy to let my own focus slip – especially now as a school-run-mum.

However, on Thursday I went to a HubSpot based seminar, where I could fill my marketing mind with wonderful ideas and reminders. It has sparked off inspiration for immediate quick fix suggestions for client’s present and in the future, as well strategic suggestions to build into marketing plans.

I had previously come across HubSpot. Quite a few times recently actually. My initial introduction I think was previous to my little one and mostly I signed up for and downloaded lots of useful powerful information but never quite had the chance to exploit the information passed on. But when my daughter arrived, I (stupidly) thought I’d have the time to put myself through their Inbound Academy. However, I found having a lit phone doesn’t encourage a child to go to sleep (regardless of what their Dad says….).

Then someone recently, during a meeting, said that they were using HubSpot CRM and it was free … So, I had a bit of a Google and requested a Demo. (I’ve since had a phone call and watched some videos etc) and have been tempted to have a bit of a dabble.

But then I noticed an email for the Leeds Hug and booked my ticket and afforded myself some quality learning time.
HubSpot base their business on inbound marketing but have now developed into crm and sales tools, developing their “eco-system”.

Not only did I get to hear about some fantastic functions of the technology, but I also learnt and was reminded of some strategies and techniques, and so I thought I would share them with you too.

Topic Clusters

Firstly, a fantastic presenter Kristin Fox from Hubspot talked about the “evolution of search”. How instead of using long tail keyword searches, we are now searching in sentences (as well as voice recognition) and how google algorithms have adapted accordingly and so now favour Topic Clusters …. Essentially these have a Pillar Page – which introduces the topic – and then sub topic content hanging off it – providing richer information ….

I have already thought about how this will assist at least two of my clients, and recognised that a few others already have this in place (in some form).

Something to note is that both pages (the pillar page and sub topics) need to hyperlink between the pages – and this is one of the wonderful benefits that HubSpot Professional level will soon have (if not already).

4 Step Action Plan

Kristin concluded her presentation with a 4-step action plan –
1 – identify 3/4 core topics and build pillar pages.
2 – review how you report your marketing (part of their offering includes a marketing campaign management tool)
3- Review sales tool used in business (they sell and measure sales tools too)
4 – Put customer first, when they receive an enhanced experience they will then be your promoters ….

Growth Driven Design (GDD)

Rikki Lear from Digital 22 Online Ltd took over presenting and explained the new way of designing and building websites, where as you launch a smaller website quicker and use continuous development, updating and improving the website depending on results, instead of the traditional method which can be a big risk, investing in a website taking 3 to 6 months to build … which for many reasons (exhaustion) you then leave alone it alone, apart from adding blog posts or occasionally extra pages on the site, until you need to rebuild it all again because it’s got tired and needs re-doing.

Low Hanging Fruit

A reminder offered by Rikki was to look at the pages which have high traffic but generate low conversions, these are low hanging fruit and can easily be fixed. And those are the ones we need to identify and action for quick wins!

5 second rule

It was also suggested to do a 5 second rule test. This is where you take a screen shot of your website and show it to people and see if, in 5 seconds, they can name what you do/the website is for.

Customer Feedback

Another nugget of information gleamed was to survey people as soon as the (service) ticket is closed and measure the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

I also got a #trickortreat social media campaign idea … but I am not sharing everything with you!

So, I had a brilliant time and received loads of ideas and inspiration, I’d totally recommend it, if you are that way inclined … and I had 3 extremely delicious coffees too (and a sneaky packet of biscuits).

I hope one or some of what I have detailed above will accentuate your marketing plan.

If you would like to join the event, I believe its quarterly and listed on Eventbrite.

If you would be interested in chatting about any of this and how marketing (specifically inbound) can help you grow your business more efficiently and effectively give me a call on 07790705223.

Posted in Content, CRM, digital media, Entrepreneur, Marketing, Marketing Masterclass, Motivational, Relationship Marketing, website Tagged with: , , , , , ,

What’s your Linkedin Connections Policy?

Connections Count, but do you have a rule for who and how to connect with people on Linkedin? If I look at my Linkedin connections requests now, I have 21 invitations to connect and this is after today adding the people that I recognise or know well and I only recently caved in and added a load of those I don’t know in the last week.

I say caved in, as I am semi undecided on my Linkedin stance to adding connections. Many many years ago in my early adoption of the platform, I attended a business event where there were two informative and invigorating speakers who explained how to use this social media channel and provided tips and suggestions.

One of these tips was to be a Linkedin Tart, which means you connect with as many people as possible. The lady – I wish I could remember her name (I have since recognised someone that it could have been, but don’t want to incorrectly reference someone else) – talked about the 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections on Linkedin and whilst the person you are immediately considering connecting with might or might not be of use to you, you don’t know who they are connected with and who their connections are also connected with. She illustrated this by telling a story of a connection request she received from someone she didn’t know, from America I think, and she doubted whether to connect at first, but decided to nevertheless. Then a couple of months later a connection of this connection shared one of their connection’s post, which was asking for recommendations about her line of work, and because the aforementioned connection commented on this post it appeared in the lady’s newsfeed and she consequently picked up a massive and profitable contract from it.

At first, I wasn’t convinced about the Connections Tart advice and was worried about contradicting Linkedin rules that you must only connect with people you have actually worked with – although just checking now, this seems to have been relaxed somewhat. But Linkedin does say “the basic type of connection is a contact you know personally and who you trust on a professional level”

However, I soon adopted the tactic of being a connections tart. So, I started adding as many contacts as I could, I searched for old colleagues and friends, I added people who I met at networking events and I accepted connection requests from strangers in good faith that they and their connections would benefit me in the future, even though this part never entirely sat right with me – sometimes if I am honest I’d kinda shut my eyes to do it. And this strategy has enabled me to build the large bank of connections that I have today.

Then I started to get requests from countries which are associated with connection farming and unscrupulous activity and again hesitated about whether to accept the request, but accused myself of being racist and stereotypical, and was unresolved about my connection policy. Again, I adopted the shut my eyes and decide policy when pressing the accept or reject button – At the end of the day, what is the worst that can happen?

During this connections tart policy crisis I tried to adopt another piece of advice I’d picked up from a seminar in the past.  This was to message back the person who’d invited you to connect, saying something like “forgive my ailing memory, but please would you remind me of how we met or know each other”, however unsurprisingly they never replied to my message, and then I’d have an FOMO attack (fear of missing out) and resume my connections tart policy.

A few years later I got involved with the West Yorkshire Cyber Security Cluster and they made me more aware of the consequences of displaying your work history, connections and other daily activity online. These types of platforms are used by criminals to research their targets and gain information which they use in confidence tricks and phishing scams ….. well, if I was undecided before I was now totally confused. Could I be putting me, my business as well as my client’s, and the other people I am connected to at risk of cyber-attacks and other criminal behaviour? However, I believe that social media can be an essential tool for marketing your business ….

Since then I have been much more careful of who I have accepted, however every so often I have the voice in my ear saying, “the benefits of being a connections tart definitely outweighs the small possibility of cyber profiling” and I cave in and accept connections.
During my years of using and assisting clients to use social media, I have found that there is no hard and fast rule for what you should do and this is a consideration I take most of my clients through when we approach their social media strategy. For some it is much easier to have a decisive policy, while others can be as flimsy as mine, considering each on their own account and how the wind is blowing at that precise moment.
I approach Facebook and Twitter connections with slightly differing approaches, and one day I will write more about this and share it with you.

So, what is your Linkedin connection policy?

Posted in digital media, Linkedin, Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Social Media

FSB’s new report on the cost of late payments

We all know the cost of late payments. When large business pay late, it can put small firms out of business. It’s as simple as that. That’s why the Federation of Small Businesses are calling again for the Government to act.

Posted in Uncategorized

HD8 Business Show

Sayers Solutions are proud to announce that they are a very valued partner of the HD8 Business Show on 12th October between 9.30 – 4.30pm  at Emley Welfare Ground, Emley, Huddersfield, HD8 9RE

Come and say hello!  Book your free delegate tickets now – www.HD8network.co.uk/BusinessShow

The HD8 business event aims to connect you and make your business flourish, whether you work, rest or play in the area.   There are a range of seminars, breakout and drop-in sessions, as well as structured 1-2-1 networking and lots of exhibitors for you to connect with.

Other partners also include the Federation of Small Businesses, Rapid Action Security and BQ Magazine, who are the media partners.  Speakers and exhibitors at the HD8 Business Show include The Business Hub, Simply Networking and Lime Tree Europe.

The HD8 Business Show is an event run by the HD8 Network, who also has a vibrant, easy to navigate website, which has details of the HD8 villages, a business directory and an events calendar.  There is also a news section and more information about the HD8 Network and their monthly Meet Up networking events.  They also have an active and growing community on social media, as well as email marketing.

The HD8 Network believes that through connections we can all profit and be better together.

Posted in Events, fsb, Marketing

There is a lot to be said about the follow ups

I haven’t had much sales training in the past, but I have come to realise that the follow ups and 1:1 sessions outside of the networking events are even more important than attending the events themselves.

However it is very time consuming and often ineffective to meet for a coffee and chat with everyone you meet.  But there are many other ways that you can stay in touch with people – especially in this technology dominate world we live and work in.

A handy tip that I picked up many years ago, I think from Caroline Coward from the Business Network, was to write on the business card the event name and the date you met the person.  An invaluable tip! Especially if you attend a few events in one week!  With all the will in the world, especially at very busy active networking events, how many times have you put the cards in your pocket or bag and found them days later thinking “who were they again?”.

Another tip I picked up, from Mark Linton from the Business Growth Show, is to mark the card according to whether there was an opportunity for you, they were someone you could potentially refer business to etc, or perhaps they were bonkers and you never want to meet with them again (I’d urge you not to make snap decisions, everyone can have their off days – although there are some total cranks out there to stay well away from).  So maybe you want to develop your own key using * or £ or @’s.

After the networking event I then type up the contacts into an excel sheet and load them in to my email marketing tool, I then send an email saying it was nice to meet them, reminding them what I do and let them know I have added them to my mailing list which they can unsubscribe from.  To clarify, in my mind when there has been an exchange of business cards I assume that permission to contact has been given, however I wouldn’t do the same with a delegate list. (But that’s another story for another blog).

I also add them on Linkedin, again trying to send them a personal message letting them know where we met and that I’d like to add them as a connection, however Linkedin nowadays sometimes just adds connections without asking you to send a message.  I don’t really use Facebook to make connections with business contacts, however many others do and I often receive Facebook Friendship requests following networking events.

Whilst doing all of this I will also mark the cards to indicate what I have done and then I file them.  Up until now this has just been in a series of piles or in folders etc; however I am in the process of creating myself a binder containing the business cards in industry / business sector order – but that might be easier said than done!

I will then, and this is a weak spot of mine, try and make contact by telephone with some of the key people that I have met at the networking events and try to arrange a 1:1 with them.  I do also use a CRM system and put the appropriate contacts in there, setting tasks and reminders to follow up.  However if I am honest this is more organic than the rest of my process and is an area which could possibly do with more time and attention … when I can find more time that is!

Whatever you do, there is no right or wrong way of doing it, but I would strongly advise you not to just rely on the effort made in the event and don’t for heaven sake think it will happen off the back of one event … unless you are very lucky of course or simply in demand!

This is an excerpt from a series of blogs, if you would like to receive the full article please request it here.

What are your experiences of networking? Do you have a follow process?  If you would like to share your thoughts please comment below or join me on social media – Facebook Page, Twitter, Linkedin.

 

Posted in Email Marketing, Entrepreneur, Events, Marketing, Networking, Permission Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Sayers Solutions, Small Businesses

What do you want to get from networking?

With any strategy you need an objective.  Like any other tactic it is no good attending networking events and making connections if you don’t have an objective, unless you have plenty of time and money available and not bothered about an outcome.

Many people laugh at me when I ask what their objective for networking is, because clearly the majority of people believe it is just selling and business referrals.  And I guess in the long run I agree, however networking can be much more than that.

On one of my social media post recently – so not a scientific survey – respondents said they networked to bounce ideas off peers and to build a support network of likeminded people.

Initially my reason for attending networking events was to gather contacts for my email marketing – there is no use creating campaigns if you have no one to send them out to and I was starting from scratch.  However shortly into my early experience of networking I realised my objective was far more beneficial, it was more about practising telling people what I did and grow more confident in my offering and find my key messages.  I also used it for market research ie to find out what other businesses were out there, what did they do, how did they do it and what their needs were.  I continue to do this to this day, but now I predominately go out to promote events and activities I am involved in, show my face so people don’t think I have disappeared and to meet new faces.

This is an excerpt from a series of blogs, if you would like to receive the full article please request it here.

What are your experiences of networking? What are your objectives for networking? Do you just sell at networking events or are you there for other reasons? If you would like to share your thoughts please comment below or join me on social media – Facebook Page, Twitter, Linkedin.

Posted in Email Marketing, Entrepreneur, Events, Marketing, Networking, Sayers Solutions, Small Businesses

Making Tax Digital: Government concessions (fsb update)

The Treasury has announced a change of course on their Making Tax Digital Agenda with regard to mandatory quarterly tax reporting. These concessions are a result of FSB’s lobbying work and open dialogue with government.

Removing small firms and the self-employed with modest turnovers altogether from the Making Tax Digital proposals will now mean that in addition to the 1.6 million small businesses that were already excluded as a result of these changes, a further 1.3 million small firms will no longer be in scope.

This means that half of the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses will now not be affected by quarterly tax reporting. The expansion of cash accounting, a longer lead-in time for implementation and the offer of direct financial assistance will also help.

Read Mike Cherry’s comment on the HMT Making Tax Digital announcement

This information was provided by the FSB.

Posted in fsb, Small Businesses

Who is in your network?

There are some extremely structured networking groups whose main focus is finding and creating referrals for the people in the room; essentially they are your extended sales team.  Most of these people will attend regularly, if not required by membership, and therefore the process of getting to “know, like and trust” is accelerated.

However networking is not just about signing up and committing to a group!  It doesn’t even have to be reserved for an event.  Networking occurs every day, in every way (ow that rhymed!).

Your personal contact network are the people you have around you, they can include your business contacts but not exclusively.  They are your family and friends, the people you drink in the pub with or those you pray with.  They can be the parents of your children’s friends; they can be the person you chat with each morning walking the dog.  You don’t have to have even ever met them, as of course they can be the people you are connected with over the internet, especially those on social media.

The people in your network are made up of Strong and Weak ties.  Your strong ties are your friends and family, those that love and care for you and know you well.  Your weak ties are for example business contacts and strangers. When growing your business, surprisingly, it is often your weak ties that will be more useful to you.  As they are more likely to give honest and unbiased feedback and advice because they have no investment in your success or failure; whereas friends and family are likely to try and protect you, by telling you that your idea is brilliant because that’s what they think you want to hear, or tell you it is too risky because they want to save you from potential harm you.

This is an excerpt from a series of blogs, if you would like to receive the full article please request it here.

What are your experiences of networking? Who in your network has been most helpful for your business? If you would like to share your thoughts please comment below or join me on social media – Facebook Page, Twitter, Linkedin.

Posted in Entrepreneur, Events, Marketing, Networking, Sayers Solutions, Small Businesses

Online Marketing

One of the biggest reasons for bad websites is the poor conceptualization of what the Web can and cannot do.  Online marketing strategy is more than just transferring traditional marketing material to the internet.  Messages should be formed according to the dynamics of this new medium.

The web not only allows interactivity but also provides the user with a plethora of media options such as text, images, online chats, audio and video.  There is also now an abundance of channels on which to engage, including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.  In the Online World the user becomes empowered.

In its raw state the field of Online Marketing concerns the building of highly interactive relationships through various virtual channels. These relationships complement the physical channels to strengthen the brand’s image.

Sayers Solutions can help you explore what the web can do for your business and build you an Online Marketing Campaign.  We can connect you with website designer, working alongside the construction and management, we can help you to produce blogs and email marketing campaigns, provide consultation and training on social media and source SEO expertise, within an overall, tailor-made marketing strategy.

Why not get in touch and have a chat about your conceptualization of what the web can do for you – 07790705223

Posted in Content, digital media, Email Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, website

Driving Traffic to your website

Yesterday was the second of Sayers Solutions’ small business marketing peer support sessions and whilst it was a very small group, we had a good chat about driving traffic to our websites. As I had time after the session I have been able to provide a summary of our discussions and highlighted some of the points that we covered.

First of all we started our discussion about our own particular websites and the obstacles and advantages we had with them and the objectives and purpose of the individual websites. This conversation also included the make-up of the website, for example whether it was a content managed system (CMS) or WISIWIG (What I see is what I get) coded sites.

We also mentioned and discussed the merits of Google Analytics for measuring website traffic and the many many many different things it can measure, including keywords, number of users and time on the site.

The first tactic mentioned relating to driving traffic to the website was social media. Attendees have built communities on social media, been growing their followers and posting links to their websites. The majority said that they personally didn’t find Facebook helpful for their business; however the group was not representative of all businesses and sectors. They did instead say they found good value in Twitter and Linkedin.

The conversation then led to search engine optimisation and a discussion of keywords and a useful tip of using Google Adwords was shared, as a way of measuring the popularity of the keyword; the more expensive it is, the more popular it is which highlights the importance of using it.

We had a lengthy discussion about the variety of networking events around after one of the attendees said that they had seen a spike in traffic to their site after attending networking events. Some of the events mentioned were BNI, Huddersfield Huddle, HD8 Network, MY Network run by the MY Chambers of Commerce as well as Brand Yorkshire and Wilson’s Republic.

This led to a conversation about ensuring that promotion of online activities was also created offline. For example making sure that website and social media details were on business cards, flyers and other printed material.

One attendee asked whether more emphasis should be made on say for example social media or is it best to focus time on printed material and it was agreed that no one way was the best way, that everything was important and linked together. It was also agreed that what worked for one might be completely different for others and it was very much about trial and error, including posting on different days, times of days and also about the frequency of posts.

We also talked about blogging, guest blogging and press releases. It was suggested that all content should be repurposed and used for a multitude of different places, although the origin of content should be your own website and so should be published there before paraphrasing or publishing elsewhere.

Whilst we were discussing guest blogging and press releases there was a conversation about how and where to get your articles published elsewhere. We talked about building relationships with key influencers on twitter and sharing blogs and content with them, where others would need telephone calls or emails.

This also led to a discussion about membership organisations including the fsb, Chambers of Commerce and HD8 Network who are content hungry and crying out for it to be sent to them so that they can publish it on your behalf.

There was also a recommendation to become a media tart and to contact journalists, touting themselves out as spokespeople on particular topics, for example one of the attendees has a 3D printer, so it was suggested they could inform media outlets they were available if a quote was needed on 3D printing.

Back links were also discussed, it entered conversation when someone shared their experience of conducting competitor analysis and found that one of their competitors, whose website was not great, was still receiving a high volume of traffic because they were mentioned on and had links from prestigious websites.

While we were talking about blogging or writing articles one attendee highlighted a problem that they weren’t really a words person, instead they were more visual, understandably as they were a graphic designer. In response to this the discussion returned to keywords and seo and the encouragement to utilise the alt tags for images. Alt tags are there for accessibility and usability reasons; one example of this is so that readers (electronic devices used by people with vision impairments) can describe the images. Because accessibility and usability is a legal requirement for websites, search engines rank websites higher on the employment of these areas. It is similarly important because users use words and phrases to search with and are also what the search engine spider record.

There was also discussion about video marketing and how more importance was put on creating and posting videos nowadays. It can provide interesting usable content, which one attendee especially said would be easier for them to create; providing a behind the scenes of them at work. Again an importance on keywords was highlighted, especially when completing the descriptions.

As you will see there were a number of tactics covered in our session today concerned with driving traffic to your website, which by no means provides an exhaustive list. The important tactics that kept reoccurring were keywords and content; whether it is for social media, blogging, press releases, video marketing or even for the content on your main site, ensuring that you have considered the words and phrases that people are searching for is imperative. Clearly posting links and creating back links is also important, as is an analysis of third party sites for your content and links to point to your website. The importance of networking events and other offline activities including printed material creating a balance and blend of all tactics that are appropriate for you and your target market is also key to driving traffic to your website. Without of course forgetting the type of website you have, how it is built, especially when it comes to accessibility and usability, as well as the purpose behind the website and ability to measure your success.

There were many crossovers of conversation and we would go back to topics previously mentioned to clarify, highlight and link points made. There were many other examples and points made which I have not captured here.

We hope this summary has been informative and useful for you. As much as it would be wonderful if we were able to provide this overview for each meeting, we don’t want to make promises that we can’t fulfil, so if you don’t want to miss out and really want to benefit from the advice that is being shared amongst the group please book your place now!

Don’t forget places are limited and we have to work on a first come first served basis.

Sayers Solutions is currently running sessions in Shepley and in August will start holding sessions in Leeds too. Find out more information here or book your place now.

If you have any comments to add or would like to discuss this further please feel free to comment below or come and find us on social media – Facebook page, Twitter and Linkedin.

Posted in Content, digital media, Entrepreneur, Events, fsb, Marketing, Networking, Peer Support Sessions, Relationship Marketing, Sayers Solutions, SEO, Small Businesses, Social Media, website